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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Roster takes shape

While the Sioux wait to see if goalie Jordan Parise will sign a pro deal, the rest of the 2006-07 roster is starting to take shape. Coach Dave Hakstol said Thief River Falls standout Michael Forney will come to UND this fall and recruit Evan Trupp probably won't. Trupp suffered a shoulder injury in the BCHL playoffs, a large factor in him likely going back to Penticton.

As it stands, three Sioux commitments are expected to play juniors this season -- Trupp (forward), Jake Marto (defenseman) and Derrick LaPoint (defenseman).

Coming this fall are forwards Forney, Chris VandeVelde and Darcy Zajac and defenseman Chay Genoway.

This gives UND 14 forwards and 8 defensemen. I'm tallying Scott Foyt as a forward, where I anticipate he will get most of his work this season because the Sioux have less depth there. Genoway also gives the Sioux flexibility, as he played forward when he was at Shattuck-St. Mary's. If they get short on forwards, moving Genoway up front seems logical.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Sioux signed another forward this summer. Having just two guys for depth might be a little bit of a concern, especially when three forwards (Erik Fabian, Brad Miller and Forney) have had pretty major operations in the past 16 months.

You have to figure they will lose Jonathan Toews for the World Junior tournament and Forney also is an outside possibility for Team USA. They won't be able to move Genoway up to forward during WJC either, because Brian Lee and Taylor Chorney are virtual locks to make the team. Defenseman Zach Jones nearly made it last year and is eligible again this season, as is Joe Finley.

Here's my take on the team of skaters/lines the Sioux could put on the ice this fall:

Ryan Duncan--Jonathan Toews--Michael Forney
Andrew Kozek--T.J. Oshie--Chris Porter
Erik Fabian--Rylan Kaip--Matt Watkins
Chris VandeVelde--Darcy Zajac--Brad Miller

Depth: Ryan Martens, Scott Foyt

Brian Lee--Taylor Chorney
Joe Finley--Kyle Radke
Zach Jones--Robbie Bina/Chay Genoway

Depth: Todd Alexander

I feel that Lee, Chorney, Finley, Radke and Jones all secured spots with their play on the blue line last season. It definitely will be a battle for that sixth spot in the lineup each night.

Obviously the forward lines will change throughout the season. They always do. Here's why I projected what I did.

Duncan--Toews--Forney: A big question is whether Forney can step into a scoring-line role. I have him playing Drew Stafford's role from a year ago -- a power forward to complement Toews and Duncan. Forney has good size and was easily able to push opponents off the puck in high school. He won't be able to do that as easily in college, but with his big frame he still is a prototypical power forward. I've heard some concern about his health holding up because of the injuries he suffered during his senior season. My response: In high school, he was the target of every opponent. Playing on a line with Duncan and Toews, he won't be.

Kozek--Oshie--Porter: Oshie is going to score points, and so will whoever plays with him. Kozek is ready to have a breakout year and could score 15 goals. Porter has proven he can play a physical game, and he's put together three solid seasons on the scoresheet, too. If Watkins proves he can be a consistent scorer, Porter may be moved to the third line again, where he excelled last season. If you put Porter there, you have a checking line with three players capable of putting up 15-20 points.

Fabian--Kaip--Watkins: Has anyone seen Fabian give 99 percent during a shift? He will set the tone and Kaip and Watkins will follow. All three of these guys work incredibly hard every shift. Kaip was very good at the end of last year, even before he started to get the goals to fall. Watkins quietly had a good season. This line can provide a physical presence and is extremely capable of chipping in offense consistently. They are everything you want out of your checking line.

VandeVelde--Zajac--Miller: After falling behind because of a shoulder injury, Miller was a regular by the time UND made the Frozen Four. Zajac is said to be a little bit grittier than Travis was, but he still put up marvelous numbers in the BCHL. VandeVelde came on strong at the end of the season in the USHL. That's a fourth line with definite offensive ability.

What sort of lines do you all envision? Do you like what you see?

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forney won't be the focus of other teams like he was in high school but he will also be facing bigger and stronger opponents than he did in high school. So there is certainly a trade off that wasn't brought up in this blog entry.

My concern is if Forney had problems holding up physically to what he faced last year, is he going to be able to hold up when he plays against stronger guys who will hit him harder than before? I hope so.

7:49 AM  
Blogger brian said...

I like those lines...but like you said, lines will change as the season progresses.

Looks like the Sioux could be very short-handed during WJC time. That will hurt in the Dartmouth Tourney and for the CC away series.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Goon said...

I am thinking: Toews, Oshie and Porter, or Toews, Oshie and Duncan. Why not put the big boys on the same line. I also think Porter Kozek and Watkins would be a good line. I think Kozek and Watkins are going to have break out years.

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